Piatti del giorno 84
There was a powerful dream that sustained (and not incidentally, justified) half a century’s inquiry into the possibilities of information technology, from Vannevar Bush to Doug Engelbart straight through to Mark Weiser. This was the dream of augmenting the individual human being with instantaneous access to all knowledge, from wherever in the world he or she happened to be standing at any given moment. As toweringly, preposterously ambitious as that goal seems when stated so baldly, it’s hard to conclude anything but that we actually did achieve that dream some time ago, at least as a robust technical proof of concept.
We achieved that dream, and immediately set about betraying it.
- The Culture War: Iain M. Banks’s Billionaire Fans - I had assumed that SpaceX ships were named from Banks’s Culture series by someone other than Musk, and that his enthusiasm for the books was an erudition camouflage display, but this is another good hypothesis. (tl;dr: billionaires do in fact live post-scarcity existences, so the Culture resonates and having lost all touch they don’t really see the socialism as relevant).
- Modern SAT solvers: fast, neat and underused - Another computational rabbit hole I’m thinking of diving into.
- The Exploited Labor Behind Artificial Intelligence - ‘Tech companies that have branded themselves “AI first” depend on heavily surveilled gig workers like data labelers, delivery drivers and content moderators. Startups are even hiring people to impersonate AI systems like chatbots, due to the pressure by venture capitalists to incorporate so-called AI into their products. In fact, London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures surveyed 2,830 AI startups in the EU and found that 40% of them didn’t use AI in a meaningful way.’
- Critical Ignoring as a Core Competence for Digital Citizens - I agree that teaching kids how to effectively ignore seems worthwhile, but don’t see how we layer yet another thing on in high schools without adding a grade or two.
- Jack Diamond, 1932-2022: Remembering a Canadian Icon - Sad to lose Jack Diamond, having worked as an usher in his (and Barton Myers’s) wonderful Citadel Theatre in Edmonton as a yoot. More humane buildings and activist architects, please.
- Beacons, marketing and the neoliberal logic of space, or: The Engelbart overshoot - The source of the quote above, from around ten years ago and roughly the few year period where I think I transitioned from excitement around tech things to my current generalized dread.
- Pen plotters - Pen plotter projects grouped by the way the pens move.